The epics of Homer, the wars
of Caesar, and temples and palaces characterize the image of classic
antiquity and the cultures of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.
They are the sources from which the Western world draws the
foundations of its philosophy, literature, and, not least of all,
its state organization. The Greek city-states, above all Athens,
were the birthplace of democracy. The regions surrounding the
Mediterranean Sea and great parts of Northwest Europe were forged
together into the Roman Empire, which survived until the time of the
Great Migration of Peoples. Mighty empires also existed beyond the
ancient Mediterranean world, however, such as those of the Mauryas
in India and the Han in China.